Lenovo unveils trendier consumer notebooks

Although its ThinkPad business notebooks enjoy a solid reputation, Lenovo's mainstream 3000-series laptop offerings don't carry the same cachet and are easy to glance over. Perhaps in response to this lack of notoriety, the Chinese company has taken the wraps off a new line of mainstream portables with catchier branding and a more appealing design.

Lenovo's new lineup goes under the IdeaPad name, and it includes three models, two of which are to become available over the coming days. The IdeaPad Y510 is due on January 6 at a starting price of $799, and in its top configuration will include a 15.4" wide-screen display with a 1280 x 800 resolution, an Intel Core 2 Duo T5500 processor, Intel GMA X3100 graphics, a 250GB of 5400 RPM Serial ATA hard drive, 2GB of DDR2-667 RAM (expandable to 4GB), a DVD burner, and either 802.11g or 802.11n Wi-Fi.

The IdeaPad Y510. Source: Lenovo.

The more upscale IdeaPad Y710 is set for a release on January 10 at a starter price of $1,199. The Y710's top configuration will include a 17" 1440 x 900 display, a 2.5GHz Core 2 Duo T9300 processor based on Intel's new 45nm process technology, AMD Mobility Radeon HD 2600 graphics, up to 500GB of storage (via a hot-swappable secondary hard drive), 2GB of DDR2-667 RAM (also expandable to 4GB), a Blu-ray drive/DVD burner combo, and 802.11n Wi-Fi.

The IdeaPad Y710. Source: Lenovo.

Both machines will have four speakers and a subwoofer with Dolby Home Theater certification, a 1.3-megapixel camera, a four-hour battery life rating, and the 32-bit version of Windows Vista Home Premium pre-installed. The Y510 will weigh in at 6.4 lbs (2.9 kg), while its big brother will be a heftier 7.9 lbs (3.58 kg). The systems will also include frame-less screens, a facial recognition log-in feature, battery indicator lights, touch-sensitive multimedia controls (including equalizer settings), and an optional "GameZone controls" pad for the Y710 that will add enlarged direction keys, a secondary display, and a "Turbo" button to overclock the processor.

Last, but not least, Lenovo is readying an ultraportable IdeaPad U110 for a launch in March. Little information is available about the machine other than that it will have an 11-inch display, a 2.3-pound (1.04 kg) weight, an aluminum alloy top, and optional solid-state storage.

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